Tele-Madi Tells-All About Tele-Skiing

Written by Emma Renly


There must be something in that Boezeman water that attracts only the most radical of skiers to its mountains. Coalition Snow Ambassador Madi Mckinstry is no expectation. 

Name: Madi Mckinstry

Home Mountain: Big Sky + Bridger Bowl, MT

Gear: SOS 180 cm 

Instagram: @tele_madi

There must be something in that Bozeman water that attracts only the most radical of skiers to its mountains. Madi Mckinstry is no expectation. The tele skier grew up with the Ruby Mountains as her backyard and a tele setup on her feet. For school she moved to Montana and hasn’t looked back since. Find Madi ski patrolling at Big Sky in the winter and guiding down the rivers in West Glacier during the summer. (Not to mention, writing for Telemark Ski Magazine, instructing yoga and being a full-time dog mom.) 

How did you become a tele skier?

I’m from a little town called Spring Creek, Nevada which is at the base of the Ruby Mountains. Both my parents telemark and there’s a lot of backcountry in the Ruby Mountains so I’d always ask my parents ‘When can I tele, when can I ski like you?!’ When I was 10 they finally let me have a full jenky set-up with my mom’s old gear. When we moved to Steamboat they had a whole telemark race and development program which was pretty big. When my dad heard about the program he was like ‘Oh, sign her up,’ since he used to be an alpine ski racer and missed the age for me to compete alpine since I was full-on tele. 

What are some of your favorite tele-sayings to use?

My personal favorite is drop the knee, lick the V. It makes people cringe a little but whenever someone gives me an underhanded tele comment I reply with that then ski away. I think it’s funny. Or there’s drop the knee, squat to pee. Some people get a bit more aggressive and say drop the knee, suck a dick! But it doesn’t rhyme. Though free the heel, free the mind is the most classic. 

How does the SOS hold up for tele?

I’ve used the SOS for the past four seasons now and don’t do anything but telemark. I personally like them because when people are first learning to tele people have a lot of trust issues with their uphill ski and pushing that uphill foot back. So with the wider tip the SOS helps that uphill ski to stay flat so you don't feel like that tip is digging in. If the snow is heavier the rocker at the tip also helps me float better. 

Are you able to find many also women who telemark? 

There are some really ripping tele ladies but they’re kind of spread out. It’s kinda hard to bond together and be this little group of tele-shredders just because people’s schedules are so busy. I can name probably five off the top of my head... (Cami Abinator, McKenzie Bailey, Tatum Whatford, Lucy Sackbauer, + Judith Gilbert)

How is the energy when you are able to ski with other women?

Traditionally the outdoor industry has been more male-dominated. When I’m skiing around with a group of ripping tele-dudes and suddenly there’s a ripping tele-girl, the energy definitely gets raised. I met this one name named Abby down at Alta for world telemark day. She was a patroller at Brighton so it was really cool to ski around with her. She’s originally from Alaska so her focus was on park, and actually did a lot of telepark growing up. That was so nice to see another girl that I had never met before. It was like, ‘Oh cool you patrol too! You tele too!’ Instant friend. 

It’s cool to ski with other telemark skiers and when it’s other women it’s that much better.